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Osborne promises to curb deficit in five years

Queen's child benefit frozen

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Chancellor George Osborne's emergency Budget today promised to increase tax allowances but also increase VAT in an effort to balance the need for huge cutbacks with protecting the nascent economic recovery.

He promised decisive action to deal with the UK's record deficit, but also to protect the most vulnerable. He said choosing between growth and dealing with the deficit was false.

Osborne promised a fixed target to cut the structural deficit by 2015/2016. Borrowing will fall from over 10 per cent this year to one per cent in 2015.

He noted that one pound in four being spent was borrowed. He warned that questions over sovereign debt were currently putting the recovery at risk.

OBR forecasts of economic growth are 1.2 per cent this year, 2.3 per cent next year and 2.8 per cent in 2012. Consumer Price Inflation will be 2.7 per cent by the end of the year.

There will be no further cuts in capital spending, but projects likely to bring economic benefits will be prioritised. The government will look to sell off student loans, shares in National Air Traffic and the Tote. The Royal Mail's future will also be reviewed.

The Civil List - cash for royals - remains unchanged at £7.9m. ®

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